The border village of Trefonen was the birthplace of James Morris who made a most unusual appearance for Everton during their first season as members of the English Football League.

James was born in April 1863, the third child of Anne and husband Robert who had moved to Oswestry by 1881.

It was then young Jimmy began his football career with an Oswestry club who were founder members of the Shropshire FA in 1879.

They shared a ground with the local cricket club at Victoria Road and lifted the Welsh and Border Counties FA Cup in 1884 by beating Druids and won the Shropshire Senior Cup one year later by beating St Georges on Monksmoor Racecourse at Shrewsbury.

Jimmy, as he was known, established a place in the Oswestry side when they played Everton on March 13 1886, losing 2-0.

Jimmy represented Oswestry in the FA Cup losing 3-0 away at Stoke City in the third round and on March 21, 1887, he played for Wales, earning his only cap in a 2-0 defeat against Scotland in Wrexham in front of 4,000 people.

A year later he accepted a trial with Everton and made his debut December 8 against Long Eaton Rangers, at Anfield, where he was asked to play in the centre of the forward line as his side prevailed 3-1 winners.

Border Counties Advertizer: The old Stoke City Victoria Road ground. Picture: Wikipedia.

The old Stoke City Victoria Road ground. Picture: Wikipedia.

However his next taste of English football had been in Staffordshire.

The Everton party arrived at Cobridge Athletic Stadium for a game against Burslam Port Vale who were members of the Combination.

They found the landscape to be dominated by hundreds of Bottle Kiln Ovens which omitted a black acrid smoke that restricted the daylight.

This gloomy prospect was further compounded by a damp mist which covered the ground making it almost impossible for spectators to witness all aspects of the game.

Jimmy scored one of the goals for Everton as the game ended in a 2-2 draw though few could see through the smog.

The following Saturday, on December 15th 1887, he made his Football League debut at Stoke.

The weather conditions had not improved when Everton arrived at the Victoria Ground and this kept the attendance down to around 2,000 people.

The visitors lost the services of Tommy Costley who was injured after fifteen minutes and never played football for Everton again.

Jimmy then missed a couple of good chances to put the visitors ahead and this did not go unnoticed by a visiting journalist who worked for the Football Field.

No goals were scored during the first half and, as the play changed direction, the weather conditions continued to deteriorate till darkness covered the ground.

The referee blew for time 20 minutes early and declared the game a draw and amazingly was never replayed.

A national newspaper article expressed sympathy for the visitors, reporting: 'After the experience of the past week, I imagine that the Everton team will have a very poor opinion of the Potteries as a pleasant place to be.

'On Monday they visited Burslam to play Port Vale and the game took place in weather which was really unfit for football.

'The fog was so dense that the players were barely distinguishable, and it was impossible to say with certain who scored the goals. Port Vale managed to make a draw with the Liverpool team and on Saturday I expected to see a great number of spectators present to witness the game at Stoke.

'The weather was, however, worse even than Monday and a much smaller number of spectators than usual attended the game.'

Border Counties Advertizer: The Five Bells on Willow Street in Oswestry. Picture: Geograph.

The Five Bells on Willow Street in Oswestry. Picture: Geograph.

Jimmy Morris never played for Everton again and was lost to time as much he had been lost to the Potteries fog during his brief football career.

He returned to play football in Oswestry where he married Mary Jane Davies and began to raise a family.

The 1901 census finds the family living in Sheffield but by 1911 they have returned to Oswestry and are running the Five Bells Tavern in Willow Street where he died on July 15, 1915 and buried in the town cemetery.

With thanks to Tony Onslow.